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   October 24 2010                                                                                                                  THE SUNDAY TIMES MATRIC REPORT                                                                                                                                     Sunday Times 3

   A tale of two regions                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  More parents put
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          faith in low-fee
   and Cape Town’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          private schools
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          IN a remote corner of rural
   Metropole North                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        South Africa, a private school in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          an abandoned office building
   are studies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            strives to provide local parents
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          with the type of schooling they
   in opposites                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           demand for their children.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The school has put up a sign
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          setting out its core values: it
   PREGA GOVENDER                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         detests laziness, absenteeism,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          late-coming, profane language,

             USHBUCKRIDGE           in                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lying and “chewing Chappies”.
             Mpumalanga is the                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Schools like this exist all over
             country’s    worst-per-                                                                                                                                                                                                                      South Africa. They are low-fee
             forming region in terms                                                                                                                                                                                                                      private schools operating in
   of education.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          poorer communities, largely
      In this rural area, which has                                                                                                                                                                                                                       hidden from the view of those
   120 high schools, only 3 897 of                                                                                                                                                                                                                        seeking solutions to South
   the more than 13 000 pupils who                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Africa’s education challenges.             By ANN BERNSTEIN
   wrote matric passed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Centre for Development
      The embarrassing results                                                                                                                                                                                                                            and Enterprise spent two years
   prompted the entire provincial                                                                                                                                                                                                                         assessing whether low-fee pri-             local schools, are involved in the
   cabinet to visit schools in a bid                                                                                                                                                                                                                      vate schools exist in disadvan-            school and have strong views on
   to motivate pupils and teachers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       taged areas of South Africa.               what kind of education they
      Describing the results as                                                                                                                                                                                                    KNOWLEDGE                 Researchers      walked      the        want for their children.
   “sad,” Mpumalanga’s education                                                                                                                                                                                                   GAPS: Many of          streets of six communities —                  A pupil at a private school told
   MEC Reginah Mhaule said that                                                                                                                                                                                                    the classrooms         Giyani and Malamule in                     us: “My mother says at public
   financial constraints had result-                                                                                                                                                                                               at Moses Mnisi         Limpopo, Braamfontein and                  schools no one really cares what
   ed in a huge shortage of cur-                                                                                                                                                                                                   High School, in        Daveyton in Gauteng, and But-              happens. There is no owner.”
   riculum advisers, especially in                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mpumalanga’s           terworth and Cofimvaba/Tsomo                  In a private school, teachers
   maths and physical science.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Bushbuckridge          in the Eastern Cape.                       are accountable to the principal
      Norman Hlabane blames in-                                                                                                                                                                                                    region, have              They mapped all the public              (who can fire them) and,
   experienced      teachers      and                                                                                                                                                                                              broken floors,         and private schools they found             through him or her, to the par-
   undisciplined       pupils      for                                                                                                                                                                                             windows and            and discovered that across the             ents (who can withdraw their
   Tladishi High’s appalling matric                                                                                                                                                                                                roofs                  six study areas, 30% are private,          children). In a government
   results in 2009 — of the school’s                                                                                                                                                                                                                      catering for 14.5% of the 100 000          school, the chain of account-
   213 matric pupils, just 15 passed.                                                                                                                                                                                              Picture: KEVIN         pupils in these areas.                     ability is much weaker, as teach-
   Of Hlabane’s 44 life sciences                                                                                                                                                                                                   SUTHERLAND                Many of the parents sending             ers generally have permanent
   pupils, only 15 passed in 2008.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        their children to low-fee private          jobs with salaries and promo-
      If this year’s June and pre-                                                                                                                                                                                                                        schools were themselves public             tions unrelated to performance.
   liminary results are anything to                    formance. She said she did not                 But she said there were just not       Metropole North, which cov-       were hand-picked. They are          Bushbuckridge, where curricu-          school teachers.                              Our findings confirm that pri-
   go by, then the writing is on the                   know if it was political or just               enough maths and science             ers areas from the Cape Flats,      very experienced and dedicated      lum advisers rarely visit teach-          The schools we visited were             vate schools are significantly
   wall for pupils at Tladishi High                    the community of Bushbuck-                     teachers in the region.              including Bishop Lavis, Belhar      to their work.”                     ers, Metropole North officials         generally founded by en-                   enhancing educational options
   — as it is for most of the other                    ridge becoming “disillusioned”.                   “We encourage schools that        and parts of Delft — where            Volschenk and his 11-member       visit schools every day.               trepreneurs responding to a de-            for poorer South Africans, and
   schools in the region.                                 “(Bushbuckridge) were once                  have good maths and science          gangsterism is rife — achieved      team meet the principals of all       “Curriculum advisers submit          mand for better schools in poor-           this sector is growing rapidly.
      Although pupils and staff at                     in Limpopo and are now part of                 teachers to share them with oth-     an 80.6% pass rate across the 66    the high and primary schools at     a programme weekly on the              er parts of South Africa. Fre-                What we found has profound
   the school have moved into mod-                     Mpumalanga. They feel like an                  er schools, especially during        high schools in the area.           least once a term to talk about     schools they will be visiting and      quently these entrepreneurs                implications and raises impor-
   ern buildings, refurbished at a                     abandoned child.”                              Saturday classes,” she said.           Barry Volschenk, the director     issues of concern.                  report back. We insist they be at      were approached by parents to              tant issues.
   cost of R14-million, only 20 out of                    As part of her department’s                    In a stark, but heartening,       of Metropole North Education          “I place a high premium on        schools because that’s where           start the schools.                            Should free schools be a pri-
   the 219 matrics passed the June                     determination to turn things                   contrast Cape Town’s Metropole       District, said one of the reasons   interpersonal relationships and     they have the greatest impact.”           In the Johannesburg city cen-           ority? What really makes for
   exams, while 64 of 217 passed                       around in Bushbuckridge, seven                 North region, which incorpo-         for the good performance was        on the importance of going out        In 2008, 15 schools in the dis-      tre, for example, an en-                   improved teacher performance?
   the recent preliminary exams.                       learning centres were estab-                   rates similarly poor communi-        the effective management of the     and meeting principals,” he said.   trict performed below 60%, but         trepreneur who had started a               Should we focus more attention
      But Mhaule was at a loss to                      lished to provide catch-up pro-                ties, has shown significant suc-     region’s seven circuits.              Unlike other education cen-       Volschenk and his team reduced         Saturday school was ap-                    on sanctions for teacher absen-
   explain the region’s poor per-                      grammes for matric pupils.                     cess.                                  “The heads of all the sections    tres, including Mpumalanga’s        the number to six last year.           proached by parents to run the             teeism and bad performance?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          school during the week. Parents            Can competition at all income
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          subsequently asked him to open             levels improve the quality of
    Province       Region                 District          School name                               Wrote Passed   % pass
                                                                                                                              10% pass out of reach — principal                                                                                           branches of the school closer to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          their homes in Soweto and Diep-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sloot. He now runs a successful            ‘My mother says
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          chain of schools.
                   North East             Mount Fletcher
    Eastern Cape
                   North Eastern          Mount Fletcher
                                                             1. Bethania Senior Secondary
                                                             2. Edward Zibi Senior Secondary
                                                                                                                              ZINE GEORGE                                                                                                                    In Benoni, a woman who pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          vided evening literacy classes in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     at public schools
                   Eastern                Mthatha            3. Menziwa Senior Secondary               122      11      9.0     THERE is a sense of defeat in the
                                                                                                                              corridors of Bethanie Senior Sec-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          her spare time was asked by her
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          adult students if she could also
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     no one really
                   North Eastern          Lusikisiki         4. Mfazwe Comprehensive Technical High     64       5      7.8
                   North Eastern          Maluti             5. Mnukwa Senior Secondary                 86       9     10.5
                                                                                                                              ondary School.
                                                                                                                                Principal Nombulelo Jafta doesn’t
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          teach their children. She now
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          runs a successful school cater-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     cares what
                                                             6. Sea View Secondary
                                                             7. Welsh Senior Secondary
                                                                                                                              hold out much hope of her matric
                                                                                                                              class achieving even a 10% pass rate
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ing primarily for children in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Daveyton township, which pro-
    KwaZulu-Natal Zululand                Empangeni          8. Nqumizwe Secondary                     109       8      7.3   this year.                                                                                                                  duces excellent matric results
                                                                                                                                Only one out of 80 matrics at the                                                                                         year after year.
                   Pietermaritzburg       Ugu                9. Sizanayo High                           53       4      7.5
                                                                                                                              school in Mt Fletcher, in the Eastern                                                                                          In rural Limpopo, a teacher             schooling in SA, especially for
                   Zululand               Obonjeni          10. Thongwana Junior Secondary             118       9      7.6   Cape, passed last year — making it                                                                                          from Ghana tutored children af-            poorer families? How does the
    Limpopo        Greater Sekhukhune     Hlogotlou         11. Izikhali Zemfundo Senior Secondary     100      10     10.0   one of the worst performing no-fee,                                                                                         ter school. A committee of par-            country achieve better combi-
                   Mopani                 Mamaila           12. Kheodi High                            216      22     10.2   or quintile one, schools in the coun-                                                                                       ents asked her to start a school.          nations of public and private
                                                                                                                              try. Jafta, appointed caretaker prin-                                                                                       She now runs a school with over            resources in the quest for good
                   Vhembe                 Vhumbedzi         13. Limbedzi Secondary                      56       4      7.1
                                                                                                                              cipal three weeks ago, said pupils                                                                                          1 000 pupils in Malamulele.                schools? Should we be exper-
                   Greater Sekhukhune     Rakgwadi          14. Majane Matlala Secondary                49       3      6.1   were just not interested in their                                                                                              When researchers entered                imenting with a system where
                   Greater Sekhukhune     Driekop           15. Mamogege Secondary                      90       4      4.4   work.                                                                                                                       public schools unannounced,                public money goes to pupils, not
                   Greater Sekhukhune     Eensaam           16. Mmamokokgolushi Secondary               60       5      8.3     “Some don’t come to school, others                                                                                        teachers were often absent or              schools? Is the size of SA’s mas-
                                                                                                                              come late. The drive is not there.                                                                                          eating or on cellphones. In low-           sive public schooling system
                   Greater Sekhukhune     Seotlong          17. Morokalebole Secondary                  87       6      6.9
                                                                                                                              What I’ve noticed is that they do not                                                                                       fee private schools during sim-            starting to shrink?
    Mpumalanga     Bushbuckridge Region Cottondale          18. Babinatau Senior Secondary              57       6     10.5   understand the curriculum. We try                                                                                           ilar visits, teaching was invari-            Public schooling is not the
                   Bushbuckridge Region Casteel             19. Ben Matloshe High                       86       5      5.8   to train them to understand the new                                                                                         ably taking place, often after             only option for educating poorer
                   Gert Sibande           Mpuluzi           20. Enkhanini Secondary                     75       5      6.7   method of referring to case studies                                                                                         hours, and no teacher was ab-              people. Low-fee private schools
                                                                                                                              when being tested. They just don’t                                                                                          sent in any of the private un-             should be seen as a vital part of
                   Bushbuckridge Region Greenvalley         21. Germans Chiloane                       136       9      6.6
                                                                                                                              get it,” said Jafta.                                                                                                        registered schools surveyed                our education environment.
                   Bushbuckridge Region Marite              22. Halemela Secondary                      58       4      6.9     The provincial education depart-                                                                                          (25%-30% of all private schools).            We need to reassess our reg-
                   Bushbuckridge Region Agincourt           23. Langa Secondary                        213      21      9.9   ment does not appear too hopeful        TRYING TIME: Bethanie Senior Secondary School maths and science teacher                Despite      low-fee    private         ulatory regime to support the
                   Bushbuckridge Region Arthurseat          24. Lethipele Senior Secondary              80       5      6.3   either — it has given this school a     Lunga Majeka with his matrics                     Picture: GARY HORLOR              schools having far less infras-            development of private schools.
                                                                                                                              target of a 10% pass rate, which                                                                                            tructure and fewer formally                We should use the potential of
                   Bushbuckridge Region Arthurseat          25. Maakere High                            82       6      7.3
                                                                                                                              would represent a major improve-                                                                                            qualified teachers, many par-              competition as a tool for im-
                   Bushbuckridge Region Agincourt           26. Machaye Senior Secondary               104      10      9.6   ment from its 1.25% from last year.       There are 185 pupils and 10 teach-     prepared using water collected in          ents choose these schools, pay-            proving education, ensuring
                   Bushbuckridge Region Maviljan            27. Magabotse Secondary                     51       2      3.9     Jafta said this week: “There is no    ers at the school, which caters for      two outdoor rainwater tanks.               ing an average of R650 a month             that all schools become more
                   Bushbuckridge Region Thulamahashe        28. Magigwana Secondary                     77       4      5.2   way we can reach that target this       grades 10 to 12.                           The Sunday Times observed this           in areas where public schools              accountable to the communities
                                                                                                                              year. If what happened in June is         The school receives R165 870 a         week how pupils disregarded the            cost an average R104 a month               they are meant to serve. This
                   Bushbuckridge Region Cottondale          29. Mhlangana Secondary                    198      20     10.1
                                                                                                                              anything to go by, I won’t be sur-      year from government: R78 000 is         authority of teachers.                     (R50 if no-fee schools are in-             will require that public schools
                   Bushbuckridge Region Cottondale          30. Moses Mnisi High                       248      25     10.1   prised if not a single learner makes    spent on stationery, R24 000 on            Jafta personally had to ask a group      cluded).                                   face the consequences of poor
                   Bushbuckridge Region Casteel             31. Moseterata Secondary                    58       4      6.9   the grade this year.”                   pupils’ transport, R16 000 set aside     to return to class after the 11am             Our interviews with 171 par-            performance.
                   Bushbuckridge Region Dwarsloop           32. Qokiso Senior Secondary                177       7      4.0     Jafta said the three-week teach-      for rates and electricity even though    break ended.                               ents were revealing. These are               Ann Bernstein is executive
                                                                                                                              ers’ strike had adversely affected      there is no electricity at the school.     Lebesa Lenyana, a circuit manager        not hapless dupes conned by fly-           director of the Centre for
                   Bushbuckridge Region Cottondale          33. Tladishi High                          209      15      7.2
                                                                                                                              morale at the school.                   The rest was spent on general ad-        on site, asked Jafta: “Where are the       by-night       operators.     Most         Development and Enterprise.
    Total                                                                                             3 390    268       8      “Since our return to class in         ministration costs.                      teachers when pupils are playing           schools have been in existence             This article is based on a new
    PLEASE NOTE: Any school with less than 50 pupils has been left out                                                        September, our kids have shown no         While all the pupils benefit from a    outside? There is no way that pupils       for 10 years or more, growing              CDE report, Hidden Assets:
                                                                                                                              interest in their books. We do not      feeding scheme, there is no piped        will remain in class when teachers         grade by grade.                            South Africa’s low-fee private
                                                                                                                              know what to do.”                       water and the feeding-scheme food is     are not there to teach.”                      Parents know the merits of              schools.

   Early to rise down Wakkerstroom way
   KAREN VAN ROOYEN                                                                                                                                    technical subjects including            by the Themba Trust, a
                                                                                                                                                       mechanical and technical                nongovernmental organisation
   ALTHOUGH Sinethemba                                                                                                                                 engineering and there’s a strong        with several projects in rural areas.
   Secondary Girls’ School has                                                                                                                         element of agricultural studies —         “The kids come from farms. Some
   achieved a 100% matric pass rate                                                                                             SUCCESS STORY:         the school has its own piggery and      of them are very poor,” said
   nearly ever year since 2000,                                                                                                 Peter Musoke,          chicken farm. The dairy was closed      Musoke. “There’s no way a person
   principal Linette Spies still calls it                                                                                       headmaster of          as there was not enough grazing for     working on a farm earning R600 can
   “a miracle”. The rural Mpumalanga                                                                                            Sinethemba             the cows.                               support a child in hostel.”
   school has maintained its 100% pass                                                                                          Agricultural             Musoke said part of the school’s        Sinethemba operates on a
   rate except for one year when it                                                                                             Secondary School,      success was due to the youth of its     R480 000 budget and receives
   dipped to 98% because a pupil                                                                                                                       teachers, all of whom he                R148 000 from the government.
   became very ill.                                                                                                             Picture: KEVIN         encouraged to enrol for further           The school has eight classrooms,
      “Although we don’t get much                                                                                               SUTHERLAND             studies, and the low pupil-teacher      a computer room, science lab,
   support financially or from parents                                                                                                                 ratio. And “if somebody can be in       workshops and a library — all in
   — we are actually struggling to                                                                                                                     class at 5.45, you know they are        need of more furniture and
   survive; there’s no contribution by                        Six kilometres away, it’s 5.45 on a             Piet Retief in Mpumalanga, was           putting in extra for no extra pay”,     equipment if the school is to
   parents — we are in a very remote                       Wednesday morning and the 31                       established after a Lutheran pastor      he said.                                improve on its 50% average in
   area and that makes the learning                        matriculants at Sinethemba                         identified a need for schools in the       Shabalala, who is also the            maths and science.
   atmosphere almost perfect. There                        Agricultural Secondary School are                  area in the 1960s, particularly for      school’s head boy, agreed.                “That is something we are not
   are no distractions,” she said.                         already attending their first lesson               black children.                            “The teachers make you feel           proud of yet,” said Musoke.
      The school has 108 pupils, seven                     of the day.                                          “It was an agricultural school so      comfortable and we can relate to          This year he expects a 100% pass
   of them in matric this year. About                         With their final exam just days                 that kids could become better farm       them easily,” he said.                  rate — but has a reservation: “I’m
   90% of them come from families                          away, the pupils are doing                         hands,” said principal Peter               School fees are R2 640 a year for     proud of what we can achieve.
   where the parents are either                            everything they can to ensure that                 Musoke.                                  those who can afford it. Hostel costs     “A 100% pass rate is fine, but
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            snk lusiwiteit2Á2xie Er—ssigheid2Á2ƒosi—le2ƒ—mesyn2Á2qeregtigheid2Á2qelyk heid2Á2uw—liteit2
   unemployed or earn low salaries.                        they reclaim their 100% this year; it                The school has since introduced        of R15 000 a year are mostly covered    what quality is it?”                                 sn™lusivity2Á2xonEr—™i—lism2Á2ƒo™i—l2gohesion2Á2tusti™e2Á2iqu—lity2Á2u—lity
      Funding comes from the                               dropped to 94% last year, one of only
   government and the school tuck                          a few times since 1991.
   shop. Of the R100 000 the school
   received from the state at the end of
                                                              Kwanele Shabalala, from Howick
                                                           in KwaZulu-Natal, is among those
                                                                                                              ‘If somebody
   June, R90 000 went towards
                                                           matriculants. He enrolled at
                                                           Sinethemba five years ago after his
                                                                                                              can be in class
      There is no science lab. The
   school relies on the goodwill of a
                                                           uncle told him about its impressive
                                                           pass rate.
                                                                                                              at 5.45am, you
   science centre 50km away for
   practical lessons.
                                                              “At first you struggle (to be in
                                                           class that early) but then you
                                                                                                              know they are
      “My learners have learnt that you
   cannot blame your circumstances
                                                           realise that it’s worth it,” said the
                                                           aspiring law student.
                                                                                                              putting in
   and where you come from,” said
   Spies. “It depends on you, your
                                                              “You get time to do many things
                                                           compared with those who don’t
                                                                                                              extra for no
   attitude and what you want from
                                                           stay at boarding school. The
                                                           teachers are there to help you in
                                                                                                              extra pay’
      This hard-working attitude pays                      the evening.”
   off for pupils at another school in                        The school, situated along the
   the area.                                               R543 between Wakkerstroom and

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